An extra £250 million of government funding has been promised for rural broadband projects across the country to help superfast broadband reach every corner of the UK.
The new government money is designed to stimulate business startups and job creation in hard to reach areas and different amounts have been allocated to the four nations making up the UK.
“Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone - whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband, and the extra £250m we are investing will help ensure communities around the UK are not left behind in the digital slow lane,” said Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
England gets the vast majority of the new funding with £184 million, Scotland receiving £21 million, Wales £12 million and Northern Ireland just north of £7 million, according to the BBC.
Central and local government investment in superfast broadband has already reached £1.2 billion and the plan is to make sure 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses have access by 2017.
The government has been widely criticised by some quarters for making it too easy for BT to sign contracts with councils across the UK and critics have called for funding to be provided to independent projects.
"There are a lot of independent suppliers who can offer a much better deal for the taxpayer. Some of the alternatives to BT require far less state aid and they are offering fibre to the home which is a future-proofed technology meaning bandwidth ceases to be an issue,” stated Malcolm Corbett, head of the Independent Network Co-operative Association, which represents smaller community-based broadband providers.
The government already announced in January that it had provided Broadband Delivery UK [BDUK] with £10 million to try and reach the final five per cent of the UK that isn’t part of those receiving superfast broadband by 2017.